Care Forward client profile – Joy and Barry’s story

“It got me out of a hole.”

Joy, 81, and Barry, 84, are an active, healthy couple who live independently in a retirement village. Barry has Parkinson’s, but needs minimal care at present.

Things changed when Barry underwent planned open heart surgery.

Joy was given very little notice when Barry was ready to be discharged from hospital. This, plus the array of medication for Barry that the hospital pharmacist handed to Joy on discharge, left her feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with caring for her husband.

Joy said, “I didn’t have a clue… I just took [the bag of medication] and we came home and I thought, ‘Well, what am I going to do?’ ”

When Joy’s daughter saw that her mother was struggling, she suggested that Joy call Care Forward to see if she and Barry were eligible for assistance.

Priscilla, a registered nurse with Care Forward, visited Joy and Barry to listen to their concerns and assess their needs.

Barry was eligible for a Post Acute Package, which provides short-term personal care and domestic assistance to clients and their unpaid carers following an acute episode.

Working with this couple was all about linking up care services to relieve their anxiety and to help Barry regain independence. We decided to provide a six-week package of care, which included domestic and personal care. We provided intensive services at first, with the aim of decreasing the services as Barry became more able. As time went on, I saw that Joy and Barry were enabled to cope very quickly. Priscilla, Care Coordinator

Initially, Priscilla arranged a carer to visit the couple five days a week to help Barry shower and put on his compression stockings (which Joy had difficulty doing), then do whatever cleaning was required.

It meant a lot to Joy that the carer took an interest in her wellbeing, as well as Barry’s.

“It wasn’t only the practical help… she cared.”

Priscilla suggested that Joy could take the stress out of coordinating Barry’s medications by having her pharmacist organise the medications in a blister pack. This service was a huge relief for Joy.

In the weeks following Barry’s surgery, Joy had to drive him to rehabilitation and health check appointments four days a week. Having help to keep the house clean made this demanding period easier to manage.

“It made a huge difference. It was wonderful help,” Joy said.

Although Joy and Barry only needed intensive help for a short time, it made all the difference in Joy’s ability to cope with caring for Barry, and in Barry’s successful rehabilitation.

“It got me out of a hole, absolutely,” Joy said.

Now that Barry has recovered, he and Joy are able to resume their normal activities and continue enjoying their lives together.

“He’s had the final ok this week from the cardiologist … so he’s going to go back to bowls. So it’s good,” Joy said.

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